Tell us a little bit about your background and how you started with Programmed?
I have always been interested in physical work and knew I wanted to work outdoors, so I joined Jim’s Mowing. Mowing was great and I knew I enjoyed horticulture, but I wanted to learn more and challenge myself. Luckily through meeting Stuart Barker, Regional Manager Grounds Vic, I managed to secure an interview and an apprenticeship. Since meeting the team at the Village Glen, I have never looked back.
What is your role at Programmed?
I started with Programmed as an Apprentice, undertaking a Cert III in Horticulture and working full time at the Village Glen Retirement Village in Rosebud. I finished my apprenticeship within 3 years as I was able to demonstrate that I was competent and had the required on the job experience to be a qualified tradesperson.
Within weeks of receiving my trade qualification, I was approached by my Project Manager for a Team Leader position that had become available, I interviewed and, I got the job.
What skills are the most critical to succeeding in this career?
Having a solid understanding and knowledge of horticulture is critical, as well as the passion to keep learning. Being able to physically do the work is also important.
As a newly appointed team leader I would say it’s the ability to connect and build relationships with my team, understand what their issues are and try to resolve them quickly to ensure the team is operating well together.
What has been your biggest challenge so far?
My biggest challenge so far has been taking on the team leader role. Being younger than some of my crew members, it was important to ensure I had the respect from the team before deciding to take up this leadership role.
I quickly realised that I had all the support from my Project Manager, Branch Manager and entire Village Glen team to take on the challenge and it’s been really rewarding so far.
What prepared you to take on the role as a Team Leader?
During my apprenticeship, I was always determined to progress in my career and take on more and show initiative to continually learn and grow, so I actively took on the role of 2IC. The support I got from the current Team Leader at the time and Sean our Project Manager was amazing and has helped me get to where I am today.
What do you enjoy most about working at Programmed?
Definitely the people I work with and the environment. Everyone is very supportive, and it’s clear every day when I come to work that we are all in it together. I’ve met some incredible people and the team are my second family.
Your current Manager said to us that you are the future of Programmed. What does that mean to you?
It means the world to me. There are so many opportunities here at Programmed and I know there is a long-term career here for me.
What advice would you give others who may be interested in an apprenticeship?
At the start of the apprenticeship, the pay is low which is hard, but you are gaining experience and a qualification which is all worth it. Now I’m in a comfortable position and have a good variety of work and there are lots of opportunities to progress and grow within the company.
If you are willing to put in the effort during your apprenticeship, all the hard work pays off.
This year the theme for IWD is ‘Break the Bias’. What does this mean to you?
I’ve grown up in a male dominant environment, as my dad is a jockey so as a kid I was always hanging out with my brother in the stables. When I joined Programmed I started to see more women in the workplace and realised that women can do anything. It’s about the individual and not about gender.
Being in grounds is quite physical work. No one in my team says Caitlin can’t do it as I’ve proven that I can.